June 15, 2008 — a historic day!
On June 15, 2008, San Francisco citizens signed a petition to the Elections Commission requesting voter equality. Because the current system leads to a political monopoly in cities and counties all across the nation, these eligible voters requested the change from winner-takes-all to elections that fulfill the constitutional promise of voter equality in their city of San Francisco. Proportional voting has never been in place in the United States before (it is not the same as city-wide elections). Soon after, voters in Oakland requested voter equality both for their city and county representatives.
Requesting this change based on the 14th Amendment may eventually lead to all cities and counties in the nation having to follow suit and provide proportional elections, because that is what the Constitution prescribes for us: voter equality. Just by looking at the words winner-takes-all, we can all see without a doubt that locally our electoral system is not equality based.
To view a clear case: look at the 2008 San Francisco outcome of the first presidential race after George W. Bush became president again. You will then know for certain that there are at least 13.2% Republican die-hards in San Francisco — a number translating into one in seven people. These are local voters that are not represented by any supervisor on the local Board of Supervisors (many, if not all, of the supervisors are registered Democrats). One in eleven seats equals 9.1%, so how come no one is a straight-out Republican on the Board?
Requesting local governments to provide us proportional elections is the first step to undo this unfair limitation of the electoral system, because we should first politely ask. The Constitution says we should have proportional elections, because no other system ensures equality before the law. District elections are based on an inferior voting system (read here why that is true).
Shown in these pictures above and below are citizens who signed the petition at the Last Laugh Cafe in San Francisco. Soon after, voters requested voter equality in Oakland, Alameda. For other people — who also want their local electoral system be changed into one that delivers proportionality — this may be a good example for requesting change of their electoral system.
In this image one can see how inequality increases dramatically by adding just one more governmental layer that functions on a premise of winner-takes-all, a system that does not subscribe to equality. According to our knowledge of the Constitution, the image to the left represents what is described in the Constitution: first a straight line of equality before the law, and next the depression of this line by the Federal and State levels that function according to their specified standards. Some inequality is therefore included in the Constitution itself, but the Constitution does not provide wording that allows the additional depression of our equality at the local levels of City and County.
Would you vote more often if the minimum odd of your picking a representative was 91.67%, or would you stay home during elections as often as you are now with you having that odd being 50.01%? In this image you can see the minimum guarantee of each system with eleven seats, and how much better your vote translates into your representative in proportional elections than in today's system.
When the Federal, State, and local governments are seen as three generation, then the grand children (Cities and Counties) are emancipated. They are not protected from following the rules of the land by sheltering behind parents (State) or grand parents (Federation). Local governments must abide by the rules applicable to them. In the US Constitution specific freedoms are granted to the grand parents and the parents, but the grand children are not granted certain rights (the US Constitution is rather silent about that level). Cities and Counties must therefore follow those rules where the US Constitution is not silent (for instance, the 14th Amendment).
What happened so far?
This far, the combined City and County of San Francisco has not done much with the voter request before them. Despite further efforts from our side to friendly educate the Elections Commission, you can read for yourself that they disavow their responsability to uphold the United States Constitution by purposefully reading something different in our request. This means no action is taken by anyone in the City and County of San Francisco to ensure compliance with the United States constitution. Only the freedoms of the local legislation is stressed, no inquiry whether the city remained within the larger US framework was made. The whole sequence of communications: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q.
As you can read about the reaction from the City of Oakland, the answer from them is not completely identical, but the message may ultimately be considered identical.
Please note that each person is free to copy the letter shown below, to sign it or to have it signed by eligible voters in your City or County. Then, send it out, addressed to your local Elections Commission. It may be good to know that the request is not based on any person asking, and no person is required to sign it to make this a valid request. Rather, it is based on the right given to us in the Constitution of equality before the law, while no prescription is given in the Constitution that allows officials to refuse delivering such system of proportionality at the local level. They should follow the constitutional requirement and right now they are not.
What does it really mean: proportional elections?
Read what has happened with our voter request in Oakland.
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